New Jersey is known for many things: The Sopranos, a lack of left turns, acid-washed jeans, guys with fake tans, medical waste on beaches. Musically it’s most famous sons are Frank Sinatra, Jon Bon Jovi, and Bruce Springsteen. The Ergs! are about as far away from those all of these things as you can possibly get.
In one sense The Ergs! are a classic power punk trio. Their songs are based on simple chord progressions, they’re short, and they’re played at maximum volume. But if they’re a power punk trio they’re the Weezer of power punk trios. They’re named after a unit of measuring energy. They’re proud of the fact that they all wear glasses (even referring to themselves as “The Near-Sighted Three”). In short, they’re geeks, which moves them from power punk into the great genre of Nerd Punk. Long live Nerd Punk.
The voyage of The Ergs! began in 2000 when Jeffery Erg, Joey Erg, and Mikey Erg got together and started making loud noises. How convenient that all of their last names are Erg. Wait a second. They’re not. The names gimmick is an homage to punk progenitors The Ramones. Regardless, they got together in South Amboy, NJ, in 2000 and quickly started putting out material. They released their songs on homemade CD-Rs before Whoa Oh Records put out their first EP, Three Guys, Twelve Eyes in 2001.
The band’s next release was intended to cause a stir. In 2002 they released The Ben Kweller EP, and not only did it steal the cover from one of the young songwriter’s EPs, but it’s first track was a song trashing him. Hilarious.
The Ergs - Extra Medium
No, I’m not sure how something can be “extra medium”, but this song epitomizes the dorky melodic punk that makes The Ergs! so much fun. Oh, and it’s about hanging out in the shower, that “warm loving womb and intoxicating tomb”. What could be better than that? It’s from 2005’s Dorkrockcorkrod
The Ergs! - Stinking Of Whiskey Blues
This track from 2007’s Upstairs/Downstairs is a good example of the softer side of The Ergs! It kind of reminds me of Social Distortion’s “Ball and Chain”. Other than that it’s a pretty straightforward drinker’s lament, with the narrator drinking to forget, only to remember more clearly.
“Books About Miles Davis/Everything Falls Apart”
“Most Violent Rap Group/Pray For Rain”